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NCAA: Top SG Prospects in 2013 NBA Draft
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On March 3, 2013 @ 3:00 pm In NCAA | No Comments
After releasing the top point guards list most recently, HOOPSWORLD’s positional rankings for college basketball continue with the shooting guards. This position is top heavy with some of the top draft prospects available, but it lacks the same kind of depth that some of the other spots possess.
Ben McLemore (Kansas, Fr.) – 6’5, 180 lbs.
As Kansas made a surprise run to the national championship game last season, McLemore was forced to watch from the sidelines due to being rule ineligible by the NCAA. He may have missed out on an opportunity to help them win a title, but he’s been a star for them this year and is now looked at as a viable candidate to go number one overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. As difficult as last season may have been for McLemore, he couldn’t be in a better position now.
McLemore is putting up 15.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and two assists a game for the sixth-ranked Jayhawks. He plays with a high efficiency, making 49 percent from the field and 42 percent from distance. His jump shot is picture perfect and once he gets hot he can really fill it up. McLemore is also a standout athlete who can really finish around the rim.
McLemore has ideal size, but will need to add a little strength in the NBA. His handles also need to be tightened up. Once he addresses those two areas, we’re talking about one of the few guys in this draft class with All-Star potential. At 20 years of age McLemore is significantly older than the average freshman, but that won’t keep him from being seriously considered by whoever wins the draft lottery.
Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA, Fr.) – 6’6, 225 lbs.
One of the early favorites to go number one overall, Muhammad has put together a very respectable freshman campaign. While he may not be completely living up to the high expectations that were set for him, he’s not coming up very short. UCLA is not an easy program to play for, but Muhammad is playing within the system to a high degree. His efficiency rivals McLemore’s, except that Muhammad is better from three. He’s scored over 20 12 times this season and is averaging 18 a game overall. He also grabs five rebounds a night, which is strong for a guard.
Muhammad is well rounded and a very mature player for someone of his age. The fact that he’s been willing to do what is asked of him at UCLA and not get caught up in worrying about his draft stock says a lot about his character. There’s a lot on the line for Muhammad financially, but his focus has been on winning games.
On the defensive end Muhammad brings it. He already has a NBA build and should be able to come in and contribute right away. The area that he has to improve the most in is with his ball handling. Muhammad is someone to keep an eye on as a potential riser over the final weeks of the season. He’s in the top five right now, but the top three is very realistic for him.
Victor Oladipo (Indiana, Jr.) – 6’5, 214 lbs.
From a NBA Draft perspective, the two guys who warranted the most attention on Indiana’s roster going into the season was Cody Zeller and Christian Watford. However, Oladipo has taken an astronomical step forward as a junior and has skyrocketed up the draft board as a result. Shooting a ridiculous 63 percent from the field for his 14 points a night, Oladipo is now in the top 10 of most mock drafts.
Possessing a blue-collar mentality, Oladipo really makes his impact felt all over the floor. He thrives on the defensive end, where he is willing to accept any challenge.
Oladipo is not your traditional shooting guard with a reliable stroke and solid handle, but those areas are improving rapidly. He works hard off the ball and is much more of the slasher type at this stage, though. Most underclassmen’s upside is questioned and Oladipo is no different. All he can keep doing is producing at an undeniable rate like he is.
Archie Goodwin (Kentucky, Fr.) – 6’4, 198 lbs.
While Kentucky has become the premiere school for NBA Draft prospects to attend, there are some negatives that come with being a Wildcat. The expectations are very high and you’re always going to be always going to be measured up against the pros who previously rolled through there.
As far as what he is doing this season is concerned, Goodwin has been just fine for Kentucky. Leading the team in scoring with 13.8 a night while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists, Goodwin is undoubtedly one of the best freshmen in the country. However, he’s still relatively raw with a lot of room to grow.
Goodwin has great natural gifts, but his skill set needs to improve. He particularly struggles with his jump shot and limiting turnovers right now. He has youth on his side, though, and those are areas where improvements can be made. Goodwin is projected as a mid-first rounder. At most other programs the recommendation would be to stay and try to get into the top 10 as a sophomore, but the Harrison twins are coming to Kentucky next year and the 2013 NBA Draft as a whole is a lot stronger. So, leaving early really makes the most sense given Goodwin’s situation.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia, So.) – 6’5, 205 lbs.
Caldwell-Pope narrowly edges out San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin for the final spot in our top five shooting guards. The sophomore sharp shooter has responded to criticism regarding his efficiency by raising his shooting percentages across the board. He’s upped his scoring average from 13.2 as a freshman to 18 now as a sophomore, needing just one more shot a game to do so.
Cladwell-Pope rebounds very well for a guard and has prototypical size for the position at the pro level. There is always room for shot makers in the league, and Caldwell-Pope is certainly that. The key for him will be being able to provide something on the days when his shot is not falling. The more that he can extend his all-around game, the better chance he has at being more than just a role player off of the bench.
With two years of eligibility remaining Caldwell-Pope has the option to stick in school but he’s helped his stock this year and there’s a significant difference in your perceived upside when you’re a sophomore compared to when you’re a junior.
The Next Five
Jamaal Franklin (San Diego State, Jr.) – 6’5, 205 lbs.
An aggressive scorer with the ability to create for himself at a high rate. Hasn’t improved as hoped as a sophomore. Hits the glass hard.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (Michigan, Jr.) 6’6, 205 lbs.
Has made vast improvements this year after a solid but underwhelming sophomore season. Can shoot the basketball with range. Has good tools defensively.
B.J. Young (Arkansas, So.) – 6’3, 180 lbs.
Didn’t pick up where he left off as a freshman, struggling with his shot as a sophomore. A projected tweener at the next level. Could be better suited staying in school another year and working on his lead guard skills.
Michael Snaer (Florida State, Sr.) – 6’5, 202 lbs.
A vicious defender with a flair for the dramatics, possessing a couple game winners this season. Not viewed as having a ton of upside, but could definitely help a team early on with his defense and improved offensive skill set.
Brandon Paul (Illinois, Sr.) – 6’4, 200 lbs.
A potent scorer who has tried to break away from the shooter label and utilize a more versatile skill set. Gets to the free throw line regularly and is a threat from all over the floor. Struggles to finish around the rim, though, and has to improve as a ball handler.
Honorable Mentions: Rodney Purvis (North Carolina State), C.J. Wilcox (Washington), Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Carrick Felix (Arizona State), P.J. Hairston (North Carolina)
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